The military is one of the largest and most complex systems in the world, and veterans have special needs that require a lot of attention. Many have experienced PTSD as a result of their time in the service and often turn to substance abuse to numb the pain. Because they don’t often seek out treatment right away, they can end up with complex problems that become harder to treat.
However, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), who is responsible for providing medical care to our nation’s veterans, are starting to leverage new ways of treating veterans. They are even leveraging technological advances to improve access to care, and especially for high-quality rehab that can treat not only their substance use disorders (SUDs), but also their PTSD. Here’s what you need to know.
The VA Health System is Hard to Navigate
America’s veterans have a complex healthcare system that can be difficult to navigate and veterans often have to traverse it alone. Veterans also tend to be underrepresented in national health studies. As a result, there is little data available about how many people suffer from PTSD or other mental health issues after serving in the military. This means that when you’re trying to find treatment options for your veteran friend or family member who may be struggling with addiction or substance abuse problems, it can be difficult to know where to start looking. You might be searching for a Tricare east rehab facility in Utah or a rehab facility in Arizona that takes Tricare and struggle to find just the right location.
Software Programs Can Help
The VA has developed software that can help vets with substance abuse issues find and access alcohol and drug treatment programs more easily. The software allows veterans to use their mobile devices to find local facilities that meet their needs, such as proximity to their homes or office. The tool is designed only for those veterans who are already diagnosed with an alcohol disorder or other mental health condition. Perhaps if this software solution were opened up to the general population of veterans it would improve access to getting mental health treatment and rehab earlier on.
The digital system will also provide information on treatment options and providers, including locations nearby, treatment options, types of rehab, and even long-term stay options.
Digital Software Can Identify Gaps in Service
The goal is for these mental health and rehabilitation programs to help identify gaps in service for veterans and encourage providers to offer more substance abuse services for veterans. Since veterans rely on benefits from their time in the military it can be difficult to find a mental health professional or rehab center that takes veterans’ benefits. But using digital software that compiles a list of these resources and providers in one place that can easily be filtered and sorted is a good start. Technology makes rehab more accessible when veterans can easily access this database. This can help keep more patients out of hospitals and jails, which are costly for everyone involved.
This Technology Helps Alleviate the Burden on Hospitals and Jails
Unfortunately, many veterans end up in hospitals or jails for detoxing instead of in treatment facilities. Because they often try and hide their addiction, they wait too long for treatment. Sometimes they end up with alcohol poisoning or become a harm to themselves and others, necessitating a visit to jail. Using technology to help them find easier access to resources can help alleviate this burden. When veterans can search for help more privately, it can ease them into the idea of detoxing, going to rehab, and seeking out mental health treatment.
Telemedicine Can Help
Another way that technology improves access is through telemedicine. The data shows that veterans who have access to telemedicine services have better health outcomes than those who don’t. In fact, veterans with substance abuse disorders are twice as likely to receive treatment if they can use telehealth services instead of having to visit an office in person or travel long distances to get care at a VA facility. This can revolutionize the way that veterans access mental health care.
It’s evident that software systems that allow veterans to easily search for providers and even telemedicine options can dramatically improve access to care for them. It’s clear that this digital system has the potential to be a game-changer for veterans with substance abuse issues. While there are still numerous accessibility problems to be addressed, leveraging telemedicine and other technologies can help.
The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.